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Agassu: Legend of the Leopard King

Agassu: Legend of the Leopard King

by Rick Dupre

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 3-5-- In this West African folktale, the boy Agassu, captured as a child, is a slave who helps to row a fishing pirogue. One day the sea speaks to him, telling him that he is a descendant of gods, part of the royal leopard family. He is then told of a prophecy that the son of the leopard will return to take his rightful place as king of his people. And, with the help of the sea, Agassu escapes and goes home to rescue his people from evil rulers and reigns compassionately. Dupre started with collages of African Americans of the civil rights movement, and then painted the intense acrylic and oil illustrations over them. Thus, faintly seen faces (identified in an appendix) look out of many of the paintings. Some readers may find this technique didactic, but folktales typically teach values. Others may experience this as a creative reinterpretation of an African understanding that past generations are involved with the living. Elements of supernatural intervention and courage in overcoming odds make for an interesting story. There are some problems, however. The images of chained slaves using Western-style oars are more reminiscent of European galley slavery than of the typical uses of unfree labor in Africa. Similarly, the dramatically dark illustrations, even of happy times, might enhance distorted ideas of a ``darkest Africa.'' An attractive book mean to inspire, but one that does not have a lot of child appeal. --Loretta Kreider Andrews, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore

Product Details

Lerner Publishing Group
Publication date:
Picture Bks.
Product dimensions:
8.69(w) x 10.79(h) x 0.41(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

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